Six Tips for Gardening in Dry Weather

Even short periods of hot, dry summer weather can stress plants. When it’s hot out, water evaporates quickly from the soil, and if you’re not getting rain, you’ll need to water properly. Here are six tips to keep your plants healthy when the weather is dry. Keep soil moist with mulch. Mulch minimizes evaporation from the soil, so the water stays where you want it—at the roots of the plant. Mulch provides a bonus for your garden: it keeps down the weeds. Mulch can be made of bark, wood, chopped leaves or compost. You can make your own compost with worms. Even without worms, it’s easy to make compost in your yard or inside your house. You can also buy high quality compost from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. Spread mulch around your garden plants, shrubs and trees. Apply the mulch three or four inches deep. With trees, make sure you keep the mulch two or three inches away from the tree trunk. Some people think it’s pretty to have the mulch heaped up against the trunk in a cone shape, but that’s actually bad for the tree! Water deeply, not often. Instead of giving all of your plants a tiny sip of water every day, it’s better to give a few plants a thorough soaking one day, then soak a few more plants the next day. The point is to get water to the roots of the plant where it is needed. If you have a few inches of mulch …

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